1622: Antonio di Nicolo Foscarini 1980: Thirteen deposed Americo-Liberian officials

1792: Tiradentes, for a Brazilian republic

April 21st, 2008 Headsman

On this date in 1792, Joaquim José da Silva Xavier — better known to Brazilian history as Tiradentes — was hanged in Rio de Janeiro and his body quartered for public exposition.

Pedro Americo’s 1893 Tiradentes Esquartejado delivers what it promises.

Tiradentes — “tooth-puller,” a scornful nickname its owner has made glorious, alluding to the span of his itinerant career spent in dentistry — had participated in a conspiracy to detach the province of Minas Gerais from the Portuguese empire.

The Inconfidência Mineira featured the unpromising combination of a large number (the conspiracy was betrayed from within) of middle-class intellectuals (Tiradentes was of an unusually low social strata) without a common programme or a practical notion of what to do once they had seized power. That the Portuguese monarch felt at liberty to commute every other death sentence seems a measure of the plotters’ — if one may put it this way — toothlessness.

Tiradentes was obstinate in maintaining responsibility for the plot, although he wasn’t the leader in particular; for his resulting pains on the scaffold, he traded dentistry for immortality. Now officially recognized as a hero of Brazil, his name adorns the square where he was dismembered and (like Zumbi dos Palmares) his execution date is a public holiday.

When the tides of national fervor made such a rehabilitation politic, the would-be free state of Minas Gerais likewise adopted the conspirators’ banner as its own flag: the motto reads “Liberty, although overdue”.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 18th Century,Activists,Brazil,Capital Punishment,Death Penalty,Dismembered,Execution,Famous,Hanged,History,Martyrs,Mature Content,Occupation and Colonialism,Popular Culture,Portugal,Public Executions,Revolutionaries,Soldiers,Treason

2 thoughts on “1792: Tiradentes, for a Brazilian republic”

  1. This is how Betty saw herself and it worked out well for her in the long run. That all changed when Dave entered her life. She was now faced with a decision that would either keep her deception the same or cause it to evolve.

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